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The Web Gets A New Friend

A French startup hopes its Frogans Layer technology will offer a simpler, fun alternative to the Web.

A little-known French startup is attempting to usher in a new era of Internet browsing. STG Interactive on Wednesday began selling address subscriptions for what it's calling the "Frogans Layer," an alternative to the Web. For $80, businesses and individuals can log on to www.frogans.com and augment their current Web sites with a two-year subscription to a Frogans address.

The Frogans Layer essentially allows the development of parallel Web sites, called Frogans, that can be designed in a variety of shapes and sizes. Individual pages are referred to as "slides." The Layer's browser, called a Frogans Player, is built around the concept of parallel browsing, in which a user can view multiple sites at the same time within the same window. Christian Mure, a partner in STG, says the Frogans Layer was developed primarily to streamline Internet navigation and to inject a dose of fun into the development of online destinations.

Mure says the goal is not to compete with existing technologies but to act as a complement to them. "We think people with Web sites will be interested in building upon the traditional Web and that users will want to interact with the Net in new ways," Mure says. The Frogans Player will be available for download for free, and access to the underlying Frogans Network System and its proprietary language, Frogans Slide Description Language, also will be free. Mure says the hope is that developers will be encouraged to experiment with the new technology.

Vern Keenan, principal of Keenan Vision, says there's room for user-interface enhancements because real-word ontology hasn't been incorporated into the Web. With Adobe Systems Inc.'s recent introduction of its Atmosphere 3D Web-development and browsing tools, Keenan predicts that virtual reality and 3-D design will make a comeback on the Web: "There's always a market for new inventions from furtive minds."

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